Brokeback Mountain, Ashley Robinson's new play with music based on Annie Proulx’s short story, will make its world premiere at London's @sohoplace beginning May 10 prior to an official opening May 18.
Featuring songs by Dan Gillespie Sells and direction by Jonathan Butterell, the limited engagement will continue through August 12. Tony and BAFTA nominee Mike Faist (Dear Evan Hansen, West Side Story film) will star as Jack with Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea, Boy Erased) as Ennis. The original songs will be performed by Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction), who plays the Balladeer, with further casting to be announced.
Reader will be joined onstage by her country and western band, including musical director Sean Green on piano, Meelie Traill on upright bass, Julian Jackson on chromatic harmonica, and BJ Cole on pedal steel guitar.
Set in Wyoming 1963, Brokeback Mountain follows the relationship between Ennis and Jack, who take jobs on the isolated Brokeback Mountain, and all their certainties of life change forever as they flounder in unexpected emotional waters of increasing depth. This intense tale of an unresistible and hidden love spans 20 years and its tragic consequences.
The production will also have set and costume design by Tom Pye, lighting by David Finn, and sound by Christopher Shutt.
Proulx says, “Brokeback Mountain has been recreated in several different forms, each with its own distinctive moods and impact. Ashley’s script is fresh and deeply moving, opening sight lines not visible in the original nor successive treatments.”
Robinson adds, “Dan Gillespie Sells’ powerful and beautiful songs, sung by 'The Balladeer,' give voice to the tumultuous inner landscape of our wannabe cowboys (both young men of few words), and provide the scope of our vast and brutal outer landscape, not to mention allowing Proulx’s poetic prose to literally sing."
Director Butterell states, “When Ashley approached us about collaborating on Brokeback Mountain, we were struck immediately by his deep connection to the world and community that Annie has so brilliantly written about over the years. He brought to the adaptation an authenticity and an understanding of these working class men, scraping to survive the harsh brutality of their environment and the insularity of thinking surrounding them, which ultimately leads to their tragedy.”
A 2005 Brokeback Mountain film co-starred Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger. The motion picture won three Academy Awards, including Best Achievement in Directing (Ang Lee), Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score (Gustavo Santaolalla), and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana).
Brokeback Mountain is produced by Nica Burns with Adam Blanshay Productions, Lambert Jackson Productions, and Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment.